James Baxter

James Baxter puts AJ Rohan on his back for a pin to start Canon-McMillan off with six points in its quarterfinal match against North Allegheny. The Big Macs defeated the Tigers, 39-21. Baxter also recorded a fall in C-M's first-round win against Norwin, 55-17. It was his 100th career victory.

Mt. Lebanon wrestling coach Marc Allemang knew his team had its work cut out for it in the WPIAL Class AAA team tournament.

“We tried to focus on not being satisfied with just being in the tournament and that we belonged because of the work we have done leading up to this,” Allemang said. “But we also needed to not rest on our previous accomplishments. In other words, we needed to stay hungry and be competitive.”

Mt. Lebanon’s Mac and Luke Stout and Jackson Gray certainly were up to the task. The trio provided the only victories for the Blue Devils in a 54-12 opening round loss to North Allegheny.

Mac Stout posted a fall while Luke Stout and Jackson picked up decisions.

After its victory over the Blue Devils, NA went on to be defeated 39-21 by Canon-McMillan.

“We wrestled well, but not enough collective hustle and scrap to really be very competitive in the dual,” Allemang said.

Mt. Lebanon qualified for the WPIAL team tournament for the second straight season.

“That is a testament to the hard work and effort that the kids have put in to get us there,” Allemang said.

For Canon-McMillan, competing in the team tournament is nothing new.

After easily defeating Norwin 55-17 in their first-round match, the Big Macs eliminated NA and made their way to the final four and a potential rematch with Waynesburg.

The Red Raiders had beaten the Big Macs by criteria to capture the section title. The loss ended C-M’s 18-year stranglehold on the division title.

Both teams advanced to the final four, which was held Feb. 1 at Norwin followed by the championship match. The squads had to beat their respective opponents, Hempfield and Seneca Valley, to meet in the finals.

The matches did not end in time to be included in this edition.

“We try to take it one day at a time and one practice at a time,” C-M head coach Jeff Havelka said.

Canon-McMillan’s Jimmy Baxter focused on a milestone. He reached his 100th career victory with a fall in 55 seconds against Slater McGonigle of Norwin in the opening round. Baxter then opened the quarterfinal bout against NA with another pin at 132.

After C-M’s Tanner Rohaley recorded a 10-4 win against Grant McKay at 152, the Big Macs got back-to-back falls from Tyler Rohaley at 182 and Gerritt Nijenhuis at 195. Jacob Houpt also provided a 6-point win at 106.

Matt Furman (170), Evan Miller (220), Brandon Dami (113) and Jacob Gardner (126) also provided key wins by decisions for the Big Macs.

In other opening round action, South Fayette was eliminated by Kiski 56-14.

The PIAA team wrestling tournament will be held Feb. 6-9 at the Giant Center in Hershey.

Almanac Sports Editor

An award-winning journalist, Eleanor Bailey has been employed by Observer Publishing Company since 1982. She is the sports editor at The Almanac and a contributor for the Observer-Reporter.

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